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PSG ends poor run, beats Rennes 3-1 in league
PSG consolidates top spot with 3-1 win at Rennes in French league
Associated Press
2013-12-15 03:01 AM

RENNES, France (AP) -- Paris Saint-Germain bounced back from a poor run of form by defeating Rennes 3-1 to consolidate its top spot in the French league on Saturday.

Thiago Motta curled a shot into the bottom corner to open the scoring in the 19th minute and Zlatan Ibrahimovic got his 14th league goal by converting a penalty in the 52nd.

Rennes winger Romain Alessandrini replied with a powerful free kick in the 67th but Edinson Cavani sealed the win by finishing off a counterattack in stoppage time.

"It looks easy but we still have to win our matches," PSG coach Laurent Blanc said. "When we're a bit below par, the opponents can create problems for us."

PSG was under pressure after losing two of its three previous matches in all competitions.

Later Saturday, it's: Ajaccio vs. Lorient; Evian vs. Reims; Guingamp vs. Monaco; Nantes vs. Toulouse; and Nice vs. Sochaux.

On Friday, Saint-Etienne beat Montpellier 1-0.

PSG dominated possession and converted its first scoring chance when Motta stole the ball from Alessandrini to fire home a low drive from the edge of the box.

Rennes threatened only from set-pieces in the first half. Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik headed wide a corner from Alessandrini in the 32nd before pouncing on a poor clearance from a corner to shoot wide in the 43rd.

PSG doubled the lead shortly after halftime.

Rennes goalkeeper Benoit Costil stopped a point-blank shot from Argentina winger Ezequiel Lavezzi in the 51st but his team gave away a penalty in the next minute when Cedric Hountondji tripped PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi.

Ibrahimovic scored from the spot by sending Costil the wrong way.

The hosts cut PSG's lead with a 25-yard free kick from Alessandrini that goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu could only palm into his net.

Rennes came close to equalizing in the 71st when Alessandrini fed Anders Konradsen, but Sirigu saved the Norway international's effort from a tight angle.

Cavani put the result beyond doubt in the first minute of stoppage time, taking a pass from Marco Verratti to cut inside Hountondji and send the ball into the bottom corner.

"We have some regrets because the first and the last goals came from turnovers," Rennes coach Philippe Montanier said. "There's no room for error against such a team."

On Sunday, Bordeaux hosts Valenciennes, Lille faces Bastia and Marseille visits Lyon.

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